CARES Act Library Program 2020-2021

CARES Act Library Subawards Guidelines

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has provided the New York State Library with $1,757,794 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds through the LSTA Grants to States Program. The State Library has allocated $1,409,357 of these federal funds to New York State’s 23 public library systems. Use of these federal funds must follow the IMLS guidelines, as stated below.

IMLS Guidelines

  1. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provides this grant support pursuant to the provisions of the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136) and the IMLS authorization statute (20 U.S.C. § 9101 et seq.).
  2. Under the CARES Act, this funding is to be used for the following purposes: to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services. Matching requirements for these funds are waived.
  3. In order to achieve the purposes of the Act with respect to Grants to States, this funding is to be used as follows:
    1. Primarily to address digital inclusion and related technical support, using the following types of data to inform targeted efforts:
      1. Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
      2. Unemployment
      3. Broadband availability;
    2. Secondarily to address other efforts that prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19; and
    3. With respect to (a) and (b), reach museum and tribal partners, in addition to traditionally eligible library entities, where appropriate.
  4. The administration of this grant and the expenditure of grant funds are subject to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards regulations (Uniform Guidance) promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget (2 C.F.R. part 200) and related IMLS guidance.


Each of New York State’s 23 public library system is eligible to submit one application for these federal CARES Act Funds. Projects must comply with the above IMLS CARES Act guidelines and the additional federal and state requirements described in this document.

Public library systems may, in turn, award funds to member libraries. This is not a requirement. Member libraries must, in turn, follow these same guidelines and requirements, and must sign the same assurances.


Public library systems are encouraged to collaborate with other libraries and systems, schools, colleges and universities, cultural organizations, community organizations, museums and tribal partners on projects that address the purposes described in the above IMLS CARES Act guidelines.

Amount of Awards

The State Library will make CARES Act Funds awards to public library systems based on a formula that considers the population served by the library system along with a base dollar amount. Visit to see the amount allocated to each of the 23 public library systems.

NYSL has the authority to reallocate unused funds to other systems.

Tentative Timeline

  • Project activities must occur between April 21, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • Applications are due to the State Library by December 9, 2020.
  • Application approval by the State Library will be approximately 4 to 6 weeks after receipt of all required application materials. The State Library will notify the system by email once its application is approved.
  • Funds will be available to library systems upon receipt at the system of the official NYSED Grant Award Notice and an approved copy of the FS-10 form from the NYSED Grants Finance Office. At that time, systems may submit to the State Library an FS-25 form requesting payment (see Payment Schedule information below). Payment requests are subject to approval by NYSED and the Division of the Budget.
  • Funds must be encumbered by June 30, 2021.
  • Funds must be expended by July 31, 2021.
  • Final reports are due to the State Library by July 31, 2021.

Possible Project Activities

  • COVID-19 Prevention, Preparation, Response - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); Facility Supplies, Equipment, Support, Services etc. Examples include related signage, virtual meeting platform licenses, postage for delivery of materials to patrons when the library was not open.
  • Digital Inclusion and Related Technical Support - Supplies, Equipment, Support and Services, including E-resources and E-services (target efforts to reach the unserved and underserved). Examples include training in the use of virtual meeting platforms, other related training, attendance at related training sessions/presentations.

For questions about eligible projects before the application is submitted please email

Access to Application

The application will be available in the SED Monitoring system at This is the same system used for the State Aid Assurances. All system directors and those they have designated with data entry privileges in SED Monitoring will have access to enter data in the system. If a system director wishes to add someone with data entry privileges, a quick guide to entitling users can be found here [PDF file opens in a new window]. While system staff can be designated for data entry, only the system director will be able to submit the application once complete.


The project application will be submitted online by the library system director. The application will include:

  • Project Contacts (two required)
  • Project Category (COVID-19 Response; Digital Inclusion—choose all that apply)
  • Project Title
  • Summary Description (written for the general public)
  • Target Audience(s) (describe methods used to determine target audience(s) in order to reach the unserved and underserved-required for Digital Inclusion)
  • Project Description
  • Project Budget (should represent the full amount of the system’s allocation)
  • Project Partners
  • Project Timetable
  • Project Evaluation Plan – Outputs and Outcomes
  • New York’s 2017-2022 LSTA Five-Year Plan Goal (Select one)
  • Description of How Project Meets Selected Five-Year Plan Goal

Notification of Awards

Upon State Library approval of the project application, the State Library will send an email to the project contacts and the library system director notifying the library system that the project is approved. Application approval by the State Library will be approximately 4 to 6 weeks after receipt of all required application materials.

Project Application Changes and Budget Amendments

Changes to project purposes, goals or activities as described in the project application require prior approval from the State Library.

Changes to the project budget involving an increase in any one budget category of more than 10% or $1,000, whichever is greater, require prior approval from the State Library and if approved, a budget amendment. An FS-10-A form is required and changes must be entered in the online application. Systems should consult with the State Library before completing the amendment form or updating their online application.

Required Federal Assurances

  • 2020 Program Assurances and Certification
  • Internet Safety Certification Form
  • Must be signed by system director

Required IMLS/NYSL Attribution

All programs or products which are created or supported totally or in part under a federal CARES Act subaward from IMLS, should include the following acknowledgement:

  • “[Program name or product] is supported with [or “in part with”] federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).”

Payment Schedule

  • Before payments: FS-10 required
  • Interim payments up to 90% of total amount: reimbursement for past or future expenditures (FS-25 required); if for future expenditures, funds must be expended within 30 days of receipt by the system
  • Final payment: 10% (FS-10-F required) – upon approval of Final Report

Note that systems may be required to provide additional documentation on short notice related to FS-25s and FS-10-Fs. Source documents that authorize the disbursement of subaward funds may consist of purchase orders, contracts, time and effort records, delivery receipts, vendor invoices, travel documentation, and payment documents, including check stubs.

Expenditure of Funds

  • Expenditures of federal CARES Act funds on equipment costing $5,000 or more (for an individual item) must be approved in advance by the State Library and IMLS.
  • Federal funds must be spent in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations governing this program.
  • Any income earned under this program must be properly accounted for and utilized in accordance with Federal laws and regulations.
  • Expenses already covered by another grant or award may not be requested.

Eligible/Ineligible Costs

Eligible Costs – all costs must be related to project activities (also see Possible Project Activities section above for more detailed examples):

  • Staff salaries and benefits (for already existing or new staff positions working on project activities)
  • Supplies and materials (PPE, internet devices, e-resources, print or digital library materials, computers, printers, furniture, office supplies etc.)
  • Contracted services (temporary services, consultants, grants to member libraries, printing, data licenses etc.)
  • Travel (must be project related)
  • Equipment (only single items of $5,000 or more, items less than $5,000 should be entered under Supplies and Materials). Note that proposed expenditures on equipment costing $5,000 or more (for an individual item) must be approved in advance by the State Library and IMLS.

Ineligible Costs:
These federal funds may not be used for

  • expenditures not related to the above IMLS CARES Act guidelines.
  • indirect costs or general overhead. All expenditures must be project-related.
  • minor remodeling, construction or renovation activities.
  • paying interest on loans or for political activities.
  • paying rent.
  • general fundraising costs.
  • general advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other than those related to the specific project.

Reporting Requirements

  • A final report will be required. Report will include narratives, final expenses, outputs and outcomes. Information will be entered online in the same system used for the application.
  • When projects are approved systems will be notified of the IMLS reporting requirements for its activities. These will include specific outputs and outcomes.
  • Final reports may be submitted at any time after the final report is available in the online system (date to be determined).


The State Education Department/New York State Library is responsible for monitoring the activities of the award recipients to ensure that the funds are used for authorized purposes in compliance with the appropriate program laws, regulations and grant agreements and that performance goals are achieved. Monitoring can include document reviews, telephone calls, observations as appropriate, and/or meetings. Award recipients are required to provide State Education Department/New York State Library staff and State auditors with access to records and financial statements as necessary to perform their monitoring responsibilities.

Audit Requirements

Systems must ensure that all CARES Act funds are spent according to the IMLS and SED guidelines and must maintain records which would support that compliance in the case of an audit.

Systems must retain records that show the amount of funds by subaward, including total cost, how the subawardee used the funds, authorizations, obligations, share of costs provided from other sources, as well as compliance with program requirements. In addition, source documents are required to support all transactions entered into the subawardee's record keeping system.

Records Retention

Records must be kept through December 2030. Records should be kept longer if required by a local records retention policy.


Please email if you have any questions about the subawards, applications, etc.

Last Updated: November 5, 2020